Phi Beta Cons

College at Age Eleven

Via Drudge, a little story on a young prodigy from Minnesota:

Eleven-year-old Lucas Kramer is nearly finished with high school, but he spends most of his time on the university campus.

A profoundly gifted young man, Kramer could read three-letter words by age 2 and read college-level books at age 5. His academic brilliance has made his life pretty busy.

“No time for cartoons or video games,” Kramer said. “I spend my weekends doing homework most of the time.”

Kramer’s father, Tim Kramer, said that his son’s perpetual curiosity leaves him with few quiet moments. Even at lunch with his chemistry professor, Dr. Amanda Long, Kramer asks questions, usually about his lab work.

Young Kramer’s accomplishments are inspiring. By way of contrast, I find it disheartening to think of how many of our nation’s college students are still receiving what amounts to remedial education at age 20. Most kids are capable of far more than we expect or ask of them.

I recently discovered that, at my local elementary school, only 20 percent of fourth graders score at a “proficient” level in mathematics on state tests. Yet, as measured by those same tests, this is one of the best schools in the city! Imagine how low the scores are at the “bad” schools.

If you haven’t watched the documentary Waiting for “Superman”, do it. Another I recommend is The Learning, which is available online for free. Did you know that some of our nation’s worst school districts are importing teachers from overseas to do a job that, apparently, no American teachers are willing to do? For a sobering look at this phenomenon, check out the trailer below:

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